Hale County Hospital Courtyard 2

Design Build Dig

A few days ago, we (the Hale County Hospital Courtyard 2 team) transplanted the rose bushes from the planter-bed in the courtyard to the front of the hospital. It’s best to transplant rose bushes in the winter when they are dormant, so we wanted to get this task done before the weather got any warmer. Thanks to our previous conversations with Auburn’s Landscape Architecture Professors David Hill and Emily Knox, we had a step by step guide of the process. It was a long day of digging, but the final product looks great! Here’s what we did:

Step 1: Dig a 5′ diameter hole for each of the rose bushes. As a rule of thumb, the hole should be as large as the spread of the rose’s branches.

Step 2: Create a mound of dirt at the bottom of the hole and stomp on it to create a pedestal. This is necessary to make sure that water does not collect near the roses’ root ball and drown the plants.

Step 3: Dig out the rose bush from the planter bed. Be careful to dig far enough away from the root ball so that it does not get damaged.

Step 4: Tag the rose bush with tape so you remember which side faces north. Transport the rose bush in a wheelbarrow to the front of the hospital.

Step 5: Place the rose bush in the hole with the tagged side facing north and make sure the crown is at or above ground level. While covering the roots, tamp the soil around them to remove any air pockets. Mound a few inches of soil around the perimeter of the rose bush to create a reservoir for water.

Step 6: Notice how open the space under the trellis feels now that there is a larger view into the courtyard.

Step 7: Admire the fresh new appearance of Hale County Hospital!

Review, Rinse, and Repeat

Last semester, the presentations we gave about the project talked a lot about the history and context of Hale County Hospital Courtyard, explaining nearly all of our research. As we got further along in our design process, we realized that the research-oriented presentation was no longer effective in explaining our design intentions. So over the past couple of weeks, we’ve taken a step back to rework our presentation to form a clear and concise argument for the design.

The first step in our process was to write down everything we know about the project and draw connections between facts. We then categorized what we know into two main focuses: Hospital Resilience and Health & Wellness. From there, we created supporting arguments to back up these two focuses. During the entire process, we constantly questioned how all of our knowledge could be applied through design intentions.

The next step was to story board the presentation. We organized it around the two main focuses, ending on how our knowledge led to the design intentions of the project. The focus of Hospital Resilience is about maximizing the use of their facilities, courtyard maintenance, and expanding community outreach. The focus of Health & Wellness is that the project is designed for a variety of audiences and is a desirable place to work and heal.

After a few days of presentation work, we went back to the drawing board to sketch out some of our ideas.

We concluded the week with a review from Peter Landon, Founder and Principal of Landon Bone Baker Architects in Chicago. 3rd-year professor Emily McGlohn also joined us for the review. Most of our conversation with Peter and Emily centered around our design process and how to move the three schemes we presented further. Their feedback was very helpful and exactly what we needed at the end of a long week. Moving forward, we will continue making minor changes to the presentation, but will primarily work on advancing the three design schemes.

Knox and Hill come to Hale

Over the past couple of weeks, we (the Hale County Hospital team) have been working a lot closer with two of Auburn’s landscape architecture professors David Hill and Emily Knox. During “neckdown” week, David and the 1st-Year Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA) students came out to our site to show us how to transplant rose bushes and prune vines. The following week, David and Emily came back to Rural Studio to do a day-long design workshop with us. Their feedback has been incredibly helpful and their presence is always enjoyable!

The first thing David Hill and the MLA students showed us was how to transplant the rose bushes in the marble planters. Because rose bushes have to be transplanted during the winter months while they are dormant, we are moving all eight of them to the front entrance of Hale County Hospital.

We also learned how to prune the Confederate Jasmine vines which have become overgrown on the trellis structure. Trimming back the vines allows the sunlight to filter through the trellis and creates more visibility into the courtyard.

This week, David Hill and Emily Knox came out to Rural Studio to spend a day with us developing design ideas and coming up with our spatial agenda. We began with a review of our presentation and spent the rest of the day charretting different schemes. David and Emily chose five “winners” for us to develop further and build in model form.

After two intense days of designing and model building, we re-presented the schemes to Emily and David over a call. We were unable to identify any clear winners or losers of the five schemes, so we will be developing all five of them further over the next few days. This go around, we will test how flexible all of the schemes are for maintenance, diagram how they would be used throughout the day and seasons, create small and large gathering spaces, and build more articulated models.

Having Emily Knox and David Hill assist us on the Hale County Hospital Courtyard project has been a huge help. We look forward to working with them more in the coming months!

Super Soup Roast!

This past weekend was the biggest event of the fall semester at Rural Studio: Soup Roast! It’s a time to say goodbye to our 3rd-Year friends who are only out here for one semester, show our family and friends around this crazy place we call home, have a big review of everyone’s projects, and celebrate the life of our dear friend Johnny Parker.

The first part of our review included a walkthrough of Hale County Hospital. This gave people the opportunity to see the interior of the hospital and familiarize themselves with the courtyard.

The presentation and review took place in the Greensboro Boys & Girls Club, a 2012 Rural Studio project, which is located right across the street from Hale County Hospital. This was the first time many of our family and friends had seen our presentation, so it was fun to share what we have been working on for the past two months. We also had a large group of reviewers who came in from all over the world.

We got a lot of different feedback from the reviewers, so we’ll be taking it into consideration as we continue our design process.

At the end of the day, we headed to Faunsdale Bar & Grill for Johnny Parker’s Memorial Dinner. Members of the Rural Studio family shared their favorite Johnny Parker stories, which made us both laugh and cry. The event was one of a kind, just like Johnny Parker. Thanks to everyone who came out this weekend and helped to make it so special!

In a few days, we’ll head home for the break to have some rest and relaxation. We will return to Hale County after the new year refreshed and ready to go!

Serious Snaking

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve spent a lot more time at Hale County Hospital meeting with our clients and working on site. We got to attend the Hospital’s logo launch, present to our clients, and make some progress on the courtyard’s drainage problems.

On November 13th, Hale County Hospital had an internal logo launch and celebration breakfast. Along with the new mural in Downtown Greensboro, you can now find the Hospital’s new logo on staff name tags, letterhead, t-shirts, and more! We love how the logo embodies Hale County Hospital’s motto of “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”

Last week we had our first official presentation with our clients. We presented our research on Hale County Hospital and initial design ideas. It was helpful to get their feedback on the Hospital’s history and insight on how people use the courtyard today.

In order to find out if the end of the french drain is clogged, our friend Tyler came out with his mini-excavator to do some major digging. After digging about eight feet deep, we exposed the drain and were able to open up the end cap.

Now that the end of the drain is day lighted, we were able to snake the pipe to search for clogs. We found a bit of sediment build up 70′ out from the end, but we will have to drive a pipe crawler camera inside the drain to get a better look. Once the pipe crawler goes in and we have an exact location of the build up, we will know where to excavate to fix the drain.

With Soup Roast only a few days away, it’s time for us to put the finishing touches on our presentation and get ready for our guest reviewers. We can’t wait to celebrate the end of the semester this weekend with our family and friends!